Markets: oil price falls and stocks fluctuate as investors bet on US rates

Bank of Ireland chief Richie Boucher says it will resume dividends and look to grow in UK

Bank of Ireland gained 1.35 per cent to close the day at 37.5 cents. Its chief executive, Richie Boucher, said the bank would in future look to grow in the UK through bolt-on acquisitions, though he indicated there were no immediate plans. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Bank of Ireland gained 1.35 per cent to close the day at 37.5 cents. Its chief executive, Richie Boucher, said the bank would in future look to grow in the UK through bolt-on acquisitions, though he indicated there were no immediate plans. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

European stocks rose yesterday, trimming their worst weekly loss of the year, as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3 per cent. The market in Dublin lagged, however, rising only marginally on a quiet day of trading.

UK stocks declined for a fourth day, as falling mining and energy shares outweighed gains in airline companies such as IAG and Easyjet.

US stocks fluctuated after four days of losses, while oil fell for the first time in six days. Treasuries rose and the dollar headed for a second weekly decline on bets that below-forecast US economic growth will keep interest rates down.

DUBLIN

While stocks rose in many areas of Europe, the Iseq in Dublin nudged ahead by just over 0.1 per cent.

Bank of Ireland gained 1.35 per cent to close the day at 37.5 cents. Richie Boucher, the bank’s chief executive, told Bloomberg the bank would in the future look to grow in the UK through bolt-on acquisitions, although he indicated there are no immediate plans. He also confirmed, however, that the bank will resume dividends next year, cheering investors.

The financial group IFG rose by 1.62 per cent to €1.88, after it said it may exit the Irish market and concentrate on its activities in the UK, where the bulk of its business is now located. The company, which reports in sterling, said it made profits of £4.6 million last year, while revenues rose strongly to €65.1 million.

The paper and packaging giant Smurfit Kappa rose by more than 2 per cent as further signals emerged that things may be on the up in the demand for such products in Europe.

LONDON

Royal Dutch Shell contributed the most to the FTSE 100 Index’s decline, with a 1.7 per cent drop amid lower oil prices. Tullow Oil Plc lost 3.9 per cent.

The head of Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest iron ore extractor, dismissed as “harebrained” a suggestion by smaller rival Fortescue Metals that miners should cap output to boost prices. Rio Tinto fell 2.4 per cent while rival miner Anglo American retreated 3 per cent.

Drugmaker Shire outperformed to rise 2.2 per cent after UBS increased its price target on the stock, while Vodafone rose 0.3 per cent after paying less money than investors had forecast in an Indian airwaves auction.

EUROPE

Novo Nordisk jumped 10 per cent after saying it will resubmit a new insulin product to US regulators, taking the treatment closer to potential customers.

Abengoa rallied 8.8 per cent; the Spanish construction company expects an initial payment of about $500 million after signing a joint-venture agreement with EIG Global Energy Partners.

Swatch Group climbed 2.5 per cent after a report said chief executive Nick Hayek sees full-year revenue growth at the upper end of a forecast range.

Adidas climbed 2.8 per cent after Kepler Cheuvreux recommended buying the shares, citing lower costs in Russia, improved sales and the return of European consumers.

NEW YORK

Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruises led S&P 500 stocks in gains, up more than 6.1 per cent, as Carnival reported first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates.

Dow Chemical shares rose 3.59 per cent to $48.06 after it announced the spinoff of part of a unit that will then merge with Olin, whose shares soared 21 per cent to $32.90.

BlackBerry posted a fiscal fourth-quarter profit, its turnaround efforts beginning to gain traction. Its shares were up 1.8 per cent at $9.47 after volatile early trading.

GameStop slipped 1 per cent, paring an earlier decline of more than 4 per cent.

Yahoo rose 1.6 per cent after the largest US Web portal added $2 billion to its stock-repurchase program. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)